illustration of Fortunato standing in motley behind a mostly completed brick wall with a skull superimposed on the wall where his face should be

The Cask of Amontillado

by Edgar Allan Poe

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What are the differences and similarities of Montresor and Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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Both of the characters of Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Cask of Amontillado," share several similar traits. They are both wealthy and come from families of longstanding influence. They both show an interest in wine; Montresor uses Fortunato's weakness for Amontillado to lure him into his family's vast catacombs, which doubles as a wine cellar. They are apparently old acquaintances, and Fortunato considers Montresor a friend. However, to Montresor, Fortunato is his mortal enemy. Montresor is far colder and more detached than the jovial Fortunato who, though drunk, appears in the carnival costume of a court jester. Fortunato is obviously much more trusting than Montresor; Fortunato willingly follows him into the cellars, never considering that his friend has ulterior motives. Montresor, meanwhile, lies to his servants, telling them that he will be absent from the house; he knows they will take advantage of this and head to the carnival festivities. Montresor's coldness and lack of trust continues for the next half century: During his retelling of the story, he shows no hint of remorse, and he relates that he has never disclosed the story to anyone.

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